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New Technology Assesses Breast Cancer Risk – The Breast Pap

Posted Mar 26 2009 3:53pm

This is a new FDA approved procedure and device that can help in the early detection of breast cancer.  The two clinics mentioned here have made the test a part of their normal well woman exam.  What’s nice is that there is no special training required for the testing or certification as it appears to be pretty well automated. image

Women as young as 25 can have the test.  The testing is screening and not a diagnostic test, just like you get screened  for high cholesterol screen for potential cardiovascular issues.  It does not replace a mammogram.  The fluid sample is sent to the lab and analyzed for cellular changes.  Not producing fluid with the HALO test is considered a normal result, meaning you are at normal risk, not elevated risk for developing breast cancer.  If an abnormal result is returned, the patient is usually referred to a breast center for further evaluation, again this is screening with the procedure to determine if one is a high risk patient early.  It is a pap tests for the breast.  BD

From the Website:

The HALO Breast Pap Test is the only fully automated, noninvasive NAF collection system specifically designed for use in a busy primary care setting.

The HALO System provides important benefits to clinicians and patients:
For clinicians:

  • Routine NAF screening
  • Objective assessment for documentation
  • Consistent and reproducible image
  • Fully automated
  • User friendly - requires no specialized training or certification
  • Performed by office staff
  • Easily transported from room to room
For patients: image
  • Noninvasive 
  • Simple, 5-minute procedure
  • Can be performed during annual check up
  • Well tolerated by most patients
  • Safe, with no side effects
HALO is not a diagnostic test and it cannot be used to exclude breast cancer. Patients should continue to undergo other clinical breast screening procedures (mammography, clinical breast examination, self breast examination) as determined by and with their physicians. image

Press Release:

Pacific Breast Care, Newport Beach OB/GYN Featured in Presentations at Breast Health Meeting

LAS VEGAS – Two scientific poster presentations by physicians from Pacific Breast Care (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Newport Beach OB/GYN Medical Group, Inc. (Newport Beach, Calif.) were featured at the recent 19th Annual National Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference. The conference was the annual meeting of the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC).

One poster described a collaborative relationship between the two medical practices in which women identified with elevated breast cancer risk at Newport Beach OB/GYN are presented with risk-reduction options at Pacific Breast Care.

The relationship was made possible by relatively new technology, an automated device for collecting nipple aspirate fluid (NAF). The device is called the HALO® Breast Pap Test (NeoMatrix, Irvine, Calif.). NAF is a valued biomarker for breast cancer risk in asymptomatic women.

Pacific Breast Care breast surgeon Alice Police, M.D. and Newport Beach OB/GYN’s Patricia Korber, M.D. were co-authors of the poster.

“The NAF device has transformed the way we assess breast cancer risk in women,” said Dr. Korber. “Atypia – that is, abnormal cells – in NAF has long been known to be a reliable marker for risk. But until this technology was available, there was no practical way to collect NAF in a community medical practice. Now, we can collect the fluid easily and non-invasively, in a manner that’s easy for patients. That has enabled us to make this risk screen a part of our regular well-woman exam.”

NAF testing is a useful adjunct to regular breast cancer screening because it can be used in women 25 and older, identifying precancerous changes years before a palpable or imageable lesion might be found. A cancer has been growing for 8 years on average before it can be detected by a mammogram, and 10 years before it can be palpated. The scientific literature shows that women with atypia in their NAF have a 4-5 times greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not produce NAF.

The device used at Newport Beach OB/GYN employs warmth, massage and suction, much like a breast pump, to collect NAF. Patients who have atypia in their NAF are then referred to Pacific Breast Care for risk-reduction counseling and follow-up.

“Risk prevention strategies can reduce risk by as much as 86 percent for women who chose chemoprevention medications,” said Dr. Police. “Other strategies that we offer at Pacific Breast Care are also proven to reduce risk significantly. The NAF device has helped identify more women who can benefit from these approaches.”

Besides chemopreventive medications, other risk reduction strategies counseled by Pacific Breast Care include increased surveillance, lifestyle changes, and genetic counseling/testing.

Dr. Korber noted that the approach developed by the two practices is particularly beneficial for women between the ages of 25 and 50. Women in this group tend to have breasts that are too dense for mammograms to be effective. In addition, breast cancer at younger ages is more likely to be fatal, increasing the importance of cancer risk assessment for these women.

In addition to the medical benefits for patients, both practices have used the HALO test to expand their practices.

The second poster featured at NCBC explored the way that atypia findings with the NAF device have changed the “care path,” or treatment protocol, for high-risk patients at Pacific Breast Care.

The poster was by Dr. Police and Linda Frye, M.D., a radiologist at Pacific Breast Care.

Drs. Police and Frye reviewed the cases of 17 patients referred to their practice because of findings of NAF atypia. All 17 were put under increased surveillance with mammography, ultrasound or MRI. Five of the patients had positive imaging studies soon after the atypia findings. The other twelve will continue to be monitored closely by Pacific Breast Care.

“Our review of patients with atypia underlined the importance of testing NAF,” said Dr. Frye. “Some of these patients had put off mammography. Atypia findings motivated them to get mammograms or other imaging studies. These patients will be followed more closely by our practice. If any cancers develop, they can be detected early, when they are more successfully treated. The strategies we suggest may be able to prevent cancer altogether.”

The NCBC meeting was held March 15-18 in Las Vegas.

AboutNewport Beach OB/GYN Medical Group, Inc.

The clinical staff of Newport Beach OB/GYN Medical Group serve as primary care providers for annual "well-woman" exams, obstetrical care and delivery, and other female-related conditions. The practice also offers a range of aesthetic services. For more information, call the Newport Beach office at 949-642-5775, the Huntington Beach office at 714-274-0414, or visit www.nb-obgyn.com.

About Pacific Breast Care

Pacific Breast Care provides the only comprehensive breast health services available in Orange County, Calif. The practice is focused equally on prevention, detection, and treatment. In addition to offering diagnostic and surgical procedures, the facility operates a high-risk clinic that offers genetic testing and counseling and prevention strategies based on family history, clinical background, and lifestyle. For more information, call 877-277-8271 or visit http://pacificbreastcare.com.

Pacific Breast Care, Newport Beach OB/GYN Featured in Presentations at Breast Health Meeting

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